Former Premier League referee Keith Hackett has been appointed president of Penistone Church and is hoping to help continue the club’s progress on and off the pitch.
The 74-year-old from Sheffield has had a close connection to the club since the 1960s when they gave him experience by letting him officiate several of their charity Purdie Cup finals and recommended him to the FA. He then enjoyed a 23-year career in professional football in the 1970s, 80s and 1990s while he was an international referee for a decade.
Hackett took charge of both legs of the 1981 FA Cup final in which Tottenham Hotspur beat Manchester City, Oxford United’s win in the 1986 League Cup final as well as Germany against Italy in the 1988 European Championship and games in the Olympics of the same year in Seoul, South Korea.
He was a Premier League referee for two seasons before retiring in 1994 and working as a referee’s assessor then enjoying a spell as general manager of the Professional Game Match Officials Board.
Hackett – who also writes articles on refereeing for media organisations in China and America – has now joined NCEL Premier club Penistone, replacing outgoing president Gordon Beever.
He said: “I have been watching Church for a long time and all my grandchildren but one have played for their youth teams at some point. It’s a warm and friendly club with a true community spirit so I am honoured and delighted to be named president.
“I used to referee them back in the ‘60s and their secretary Arthur Lee wrote a letter to the FA which helped me a lot in my career. I have always had a connection to the club ever since.”
Church secretary Dave Hampshire said: “Keith goes to almost all of our home games and a lot of our away games as well. Two of his grandsons play for our youth teams. He has always promoted us around the football world and making him president will hopefully help to raise the club’s profile.”
Church are enjoying their best ever era as they are currently challenging for promotion into the Evo-Stik Premier League and are the highest-placed non-league club in Barnsley.
Hackett said: “The first team have been very successful and they get good crowds of more than 200 with people like John Stones coming to some of the games.
“Hopefully that can continue but I’d like to make progress off the pitch as well. At the moment there is a small astroturf pitch which is very well-used but I’d like to put in a full-length training pitch for the club and all the community to use.”
Penistone’s scheduled Saturday match with Bottesford Town was called off, as well as many other games in their league. They remain second, above third-placed Knaresborough Town on goal difference and seven points behind leaders Yorkshire Amateur who have played a game more.